Follow
Share

a feeding tube has been suggested. She is not bedridden yet. However, she is in a nursing home. Has anyone been faced with this situation?

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Hi Oldmaid, you are posting on a very old thread (7 years!) so unfortunately many people will not see your question.

Do some reading on this site and on the web about dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), there are many good discussions about how to modify food to make it palatable.

Meat is often the first thing to cause difficulty and the hardest thing to modify, you will need to invest in a good food processor and totally puree it like you would baby food, then serve it as a sauce or gravy or incorporate it into dishes like spaghetti, shepherds pie, your favourite casseroles or even meatloaf.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

There is a product called " Thick-it" that you can add to water, o.j. or any liquid to make it nectar-like thickness.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Blitz it up to a thick soup. Still has all the goodness but easy to swallow. You can blitz almost  anything.

Fish and rice cakes.  Held together with a little egg or potato but still kept soft. Serve with creamy mash.

Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Hi,
I found this site looking for meals for my 90 year old mother. I will pray for all of you and your parents. I know that we all need it. There are a couple of recommendations that I would make. My mother too has problems swallowing. She loved her orange juice which seems to be too acidic and water right after waking up makes her cough even though she is thirsty. I searched to find some kind of juice & the speech therapist suggested things being the consistency of nectar. I found pear nectar in the Latino Section of the supermarket. She loves it & calls it the nectar of the gods. It is thick and refreshing. It has all sorts of good things in it as well. I also give her chocolate milk with her lunch and dinner. I sneak in Carnation Breakfast Essentials High Protein Rich Milk Chocolate which also has vitamins etc and tastes like regular chocolate milk she can't taste the difference. It does not have the metallic strange taste of Ensure. It comes in bottles in the cereal section of the grocery. Ask for it. Mother also likes chocolate pudding ( I try to get the one with the most calories-Hershey's & of course whip cream), Cozy Shack cinnamon pudding with raisins has become her favorite. I have mother at home with me, & I bought an air mattress overlay which cost about $300. The air mattresses are so expensive (thousands of dollars) but this has done the trick. She is bed bound and needs to be lifted from the bed by the wheel chair van man. I can't lift her, but she goes to mass on Sun., the doctors, and gets out of bed to get her hair done at home every two weeks. She has not had any bedsores & has been this way for at least 7 years. The good care of the nurse's aides & the mattress overlay may have prevented them. Do check the air mattress overlay it comes with an air pump which goes right over the foot of the bed. It is very easy. My question is does anyone know of recipes for meat or fish that would be easy to eat & delicious. Mother
doesn't seem to be able to eat meat- she chews it & spits it out. She wants steak, lamb chops, etc... but I don't know how much she is getting out of it. I have tried hamburgers and meatloaf, and it seems the same way. The only fish that she says she likes is sword fish & I have seen her spit it out after chewing it as well. Any ideas? I teach school & have the nurse's aid give her Stouffer's Lean Cusine Comfort Foods like Turkey, sweet potatoes & stuffing. She likes it, but she leaves the turkey lately. THANKS FOR ANY HELP!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Loss of ability to swallow is an eventual stage of dementia and/or Alzheimer's. It can also be associated with numerous mini-strokes. Many dementia patients actually have vascular dementia; they have had many small strokes that are too small to be detected on an MRI. Depending on which part of the brain is affected, they may lose their swallowing ability.

The best solution is honey-thickened foods - no thin liquids. My late father had "Ensure" with every meal to boost his caloric intake and prevent dehydration. Everyone I've talked to regretted having a feeding tube inserted - which is why I never recommend it for late-stage dementia patients. Incidentally, late-stage cancer patients also lose their appetite despite the fact that the advancing cancer is consuming tremendous nutritional stores and calories. The anorexia (loss of appetite) in these situations is a sign that the body is winding down.

Bedsores will eventually happen to anyone who is immobile and bedridden, despite the best of care. Christopher Reeve, the actor, died from sepsis from an infected bedsore - and he probably had the best nursing care of any quadriplegic on the planet.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

On Dec. 3, the feeding tube was inserted into my mother. She is back in the hospital with an infection around the tube and in terrific pain. I made the decision because she was refusing all foods and hospice was the next step. Not being ready to let her go, I made the decision. I am now on a journey that I would prefer not to take.

I was so thankful for all the responses to my posting and surprised that I received so many. This site is really helpful and informative.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I use Carnation Instant breakfast instead. It is cheaper than Ensure or the store brand Nutrition Drink. And has almost the same amount of nutrition. Not sure about the sugar content but at my mom age that really does not matter.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I'd just suggest that you read the ingredients of Ensure Plus or any of the canned/bottled protein drinks. Corn oil? High Fructose Corn Syrup? Hmmm.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I am having the same problem with my Dad due to dementia. The doctor did prescribe Megace to increase the appetite. We mix him protein drinks and he drinks with a straw - seems to go down easier - but still he chokes some. Oatmeal, eggs, soft stuff that does not have to be chewed (but still swallowed). You are not in it alone - I felt like I was starving my father to death right before my eyes....be informed and do your best. Feeding tube the last resort. Check out the muscle in the throat - that weakens too like other caregiver said.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I am so grateful that at 90 my mom still has a great appetite. I try to change up meals daily and make them easy to eat. but nutritious. However at least when the time comes that she has eating issues, if ever, I will know where to look for answers.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother had the exact same problem. You should request that a barium swallow test be done on your mother to determine the extent of her swallowing difficulty. You should also give her Ensure Plus to keep her calories up. The nutritionist suggested that my mother drink no less than 3 per day if she eats a meal and as many as 5 if she is not eating. I found that my mother's appetite greatly improved once she started drinking the Ensure plus. Make sure it is ensure plus or the equivalent so that each serving is at least 300 calories.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My sister cares for a woman who is in a nursing home and has lost her interest in food partially because of the swallowing issue, and partially because she can't control the food well (drops sandwiches, etc). So my sister stops in daily and makes her a delicious protein meal replacement shake which she absolutely loves and consumes very well, even trying to lick the residue from the glass. It's not made ice cold, but rather with room temperature water, whisked into a sort of pudding consistency. She looks forward to this, and happily anticipates the treat when my sister comes to see her. Being in powder form, you can control the consistency, unlike the bottled drinks or canned ones.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mom had the same problem. At first she was just forgetting to chew and swallow, so I would put cards on her table with the words "chew" and "swallow" on them. Then as her condition progressed, when she did chew and swallow, it was so hard for her, and she was eating very little, and had lost weight. Her nursing home tried the thickener, but it did not help. Her swallowing was evaluated, and it was determined that there was danger of aspiration pneumonia. Her physician ordered here to have a feed tube installed. At first they tried the nasal tube, but she pulled it out and efforts to keep her from doing so were not acceptable. So it was agreed that she would have a feeding tube surgically installed. Yes, it did cause discomfort, but only for a short time. For her it was the best thing because she gained back normal weight. She lived 1 1/2 years after this and never complained. She did not communicate much, so I asked her to tell me where the baby (her doll) was unhappy. When she had the nasal tube, she pointed to the doll's nose. Immediately after the surgery, she pointed to the doll's stomach. After a couple of days, she no longer pointed to any place. So she felt no pain. For her, it was the best thing.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I am very grateful that my mom ate so well at thanksgiving. I gut up her turkey, and we had sweet potaotes and stuffing, all of which she was able to eat. Een sringbeans. In fact I am so happily surprsed and it made making the dinner for the two of us worth it.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

As you can see, this isn't unusual at all.
My mom has pretty much lost all interest in food and lives on ENSURE, which started to cause some digestive problems,
she also had the same the problem swallowing, a speech therapist was brought in but I think she just had to be a little more deliberate about eating and swallowing.
Tey to avoid the feeding tube.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Dear ecp,
this is what happens. It happened to my mom because she would get the food in her mouth and then not know what to do with it.
Her time is near and all you can do is just be very very patient and feed her.
A feeding tube is ridiculous as you have read above because of the unnecessary pain and anguish that it causes all involved, especially your mom.
for a nursing home the feeding tube makes sense because they don't have the man hours to be able to sit and wait for a person to eat and swallow.
good luck and know that the caregivers on this site will help you through whatever you face.
Please take a minute and update us on your mom's situation.
lovbob
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

make sure her teeth are ok. sometimes they cant tell you. My mom's had a post in her bridgewrk stabbing her in the jaw every time she ate. Now that the bridge came out she is much better with eating. This might soud over simple but it could be as simple as that.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My mother has alzheimers and faced the same problem - actually forgetting how to swallow. She ended up in the hospital with pneumonia from asperating (food going down the wrong pipe and into her lungs). They put her on "Thick It" which thickens liquids and that worked a bit but they wanted to put in a feeding tube - into her stomach. We decided against the feeding tube and when I got her home with me, I was able to get her SLOWLYYYYYY drinking regular liquids out of a small brandy glass with a stem that she could hold herself.... teeny tiny sips at a time and it took a few days but I think she actually was retrained to swallow. She would not get that kind of attention in a nursing facility or a hospital because it just takes too much time. I think the hospital was too quick to suggest the feeding tube. We actually thought the worst when this problem first arose but it has been a 100% turnaround. I will pray for the same for you!! Good luck!!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

When my mom stopped eating , the nursing staff started blending her food and then went to milkshakes and protein shakes. Be sure you know your moms wishes on a feeding tube. My mother DID NOT want a feeding tube under any circumstances. As the disease progresses they loose ability to do normal activities. Always tell her how much you love her! The last time my mom talked to me was on my 45th birthday and she said I love you!! That was my best bday present ever. My mom loved applesauce and milkshakes and Boost drinks. I wish you my best ! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I believe loss of interest in eating comes as one of the several stages of dementia/alzheimer's.....My Mom lost her ability in swallowing, and there is a medication that will increse her appitite----you might want to check this out. If this is a problem with swallowing, and that can be tested, she might be best off on pureed foods-and having supplemenets like boost or ensure in the meanwhile. The staff physician is probably the best person to consult with-as there could be many reasons your Mom is having a problem.
Best to you-and have a good Thanksgiving~
Hap
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My Mom is in a nursing home. She has been at home with health care aids, but her dementia situation worsened. She got pneumonia and the speech therapist noticed that it may be due to her swallowing ability. They had her take a barium swallow test and found that she most likely aspirated liquids because of a reduced swallowing ability. She now eats all thickened foods, even her coffee is thickened. It could also be caused by a mini-stroke but older people sometimes get them. She is almost 91.
My Dad had a feeding tube put in because of his desire not to eat and he lived another 30 days and we regreted that decision. Sometimes the desire to eat comes as the body begins to die.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

mom only eats sweet food. So I have been making lots of hot cereal that you can sweeten and egg custards or egg pudding which is really sweet. She loves it. And you can get stuff to thicken food and drinks to make it easier to swallow. Good luck.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My father and mother have had some trouble in this area. The surprise is that for my father it ended up being due to discomfort from his dentures. Once fix it there was no trouble until he became sick. For my mother it was due to her throat. Shevis having her esophagus stretched.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

OMG. My Dad was in a nursing home and started "pocketing" his food in his jaws and not swallowing it. I agreed to have a feeding tube inserted, which I regret to this very day because he passed away TWO DAYS LATER, in a massive amount of pain.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, have the nurses completely undress your Mom and check her entire body for pressure sores, (bed sores). My Dad had stage 4 pressure sores on his body which they hid quite well, and which was the cause of him not eating. He was riddled with infection from stage 4 bedsores! He eventually went into sepsis shock syndrome from infection.
I hope this is not the same situation, but I wanted you to be aware of what happened to my Dad and to make SURE this isn't happening to your Mom.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.